• 5-HT1A receptors;
  • α2-adrenoceptors;
  • antidepressant;
  • dorsal raphe;
  • locus coeruleus;
  • rat


Reboxetine is a non-tricyclic antidepressant with selective noradrenergic (NA) reuptake-blocking effects. The effects of acute and sustained administration of reboxetine, on the firing activity of locus coeruleus NA neurons and dorsal raphe 5-HT neurons, were assessed using in vivo extracellular unitary recording in rats anaesthetized with chloral hydrate. Reboxetine (0.1–1.25 mg/kg, i.v.) dose-dependently decreased the firing activity of NA neurons (ED50 = 480 ± 14 µg/kg). A 2-day treatment with reboxetine at 1.25, 2.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg per day (using osmotic minipumps implanted subcutaneously) produced significant decreases of 52%, 68%, 81%, and 83%, respectively, of NA firing activity. When the reboxetine treatment (2.5 mg/kg per day) duration was prolonged to 7 days, a 66% decrease in NA firing activity was observed which further decreased to 80% after 21 days of treatment. In contrast, 5-HT neuron firing rate remained unaltered following short- and long-term reboxetine treatments. The suppressant effect of the α2-adrenoceptor agonist clonidine on the firing activity of NA neurons was unchanged in long-term reboxetine-treated rats, but its effect on the firing activity of 5-HT neurons was blunted. The enhancement of NA firing activity by the 5-HT1A agonist 8-OH-DPAT was abolished in long-term reboxetine-treated rats, whereas, the inhibitory effect of the 5-HT2 agonist DOI was attenuated by about three-fold. In conclusion, sustained NA reuptake blockade by reboxetine lead to profound alterations in the function of NA neurons and of 5-HT receptors modulating their firing activity.